Binge and Purge

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

In case of Nuclear Attack, duck and cover underneath your desk

The case study regarding the criticisms of the warning system implemented for notification in the event of a terrorist attack makes some good points, while failing to take other shortcomings of a universal language for all levels of government, and courses of action that are advised during a crisis. The system, as well as the Department of Homeland Security’s website do effectively provide some comfort and reassurance to Americans, however if it where more heavily scrutinized instead of blind acceptance, the utility of the system of alert and course’s of action, drops significantly.
Terrorist organizations have a thorough understanding of the methods with which our media operates as well as the impact it has on the United States population, knowing this alert systems working provides them with another way to either create hysteria, or give the idea that no alarm is necessary. Both could be sued to their advantage depending on the desired situation. The more information they have about it, the more potential they will find to manipulate it to their advantage.
Frequent use of the system devalues its relevance in the eyes of most citizen, turns the level of the day in America into nothing more than water-cooler talk.
Does provide some sense of security for citizens, provides them with the peace of mind that there is a planned course of action and protective measures; however if we really think about it, some of the advised courses of action are ludicrous. For example plastic sheeting and duct tape for sealing windows and doors against terrorist attacks. I don’t know if they did their homework on this because: one, properly sealing all doors and windows of a home can take a very long time. What if you have a two story home, and no ladder? What if your home has more windows than normal? Two, there countless other unsealed areas in your home. The attic must be properly ventilated in multiple areas, and homes with vinyl siding are designed to allow ventilation. What about chimneys? Furthermore, duct tape does not create a very good seal when applied to painted and textured sheetrock or exterior materials. In fact, the only thing that can prevent almost 100% of oxygen and other gases from entering your home, or exiting for that matter, is a termite tent. Mass hysteria was a result of an advised course of action that would have done little to no good.
The emphasis on the necessity to create a universal language between local, state and federal government is a good idea, regarding terrorist threats or attacks. It also is a no-brainer. This seems like such a simple yet crucial concept, why has is never been created and implemented before? In my opinion, the lacking of such an easy concept to develop, implement, and adhere to is yet another example of our governments, “We are America, nothing can happen to us because…We are America!” mentality.
The section regarding information sharing and indications and warnings points out multiple areas in which improvement is needed in current methods of communication during a crisis, or the events leading to one. One such example is the statement, “Current regulations require certain state and local law enforcement officials to be screened twice, once by state and local authorities and again by federal government. We must streamline this process to make it more responsive to our protection needs.” This, like many other claims in the section fails to make sense to me, nor does it explain how this is even possible. It merely expresses the process will be hastened and improved. It seems requiring less checks for vital crisis information from a lower source, could potentially result in easier, “false-alarms, hysteria inducing claims” by someone with ill intentions.
The entire thing is so strikingly similar to the cold-war bomb drills that so many went through. It provided a sense of security to many, and made others laugh at its trivialness. “Children, if a nuke hits anywhere near you, a 20 pound desk made of cheap wood and aluminum isn’t going to help you. I guess the good thing about duck and cover is it makes it easier to kiss your own ass goodbye!” This system and belaboring of efficient communication shows effort on behalf of our central government, and provides much reassurance to many, but too much of it is impractical and laughable.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

It’s only a cartoon

As our country has become more diverse with a large mixture of race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation, many have seen racial and sexist undertones of many media forms, and even worse Disney Films and cartoons which are meant to entertain and inform our youth. In the book, “The Mouse that Roared: Disney and the End of Innocence”, written by Dr. Henry Giroux, he challenges the demeanor and speech used by characters meant to represent a specific race, gender, or ethnicity, among other things. “Challenging the ideological underpinnings of Disney’s construction of common sense” is one of the many explanations he gives as to why deeper consideration of such content. We were curious if his research would hold true for movies made to entertain the parents that bring their children to see them, and movies that contain animation and real actors. We discovered that races, genders, and ethnicities of the movies “Who Framed Rodger Rabbit” and “Cool World” where poorly represented. The main, female characters of both movies had unrealistic body types, perfect complexion, flawless hair and complexion; also the women characters use their sexuality as a tool to get what they want from the men who obsess over them. The cartoons with blatant African-American speech tones were drawn as cartoon gorillas and/or orangutans with sinister or criminal behavior in both movies. Cartoons that were obese were not only female in both movies, but also very clumsy.

This study was done in a qualitative method to observe the portrayal of genders, races and ethnicities in movies containing animated characters with flesh and blood actors. We found each primary female cartoon character possessed unrealistic body types and are heavily desired by the male, human characters. The specific races represented as cartoons fit all racial stereotypes against them to a T. We also noted profession of primary female characters. We did not include characters, be them real or cartoon, that did not contain characteristics flamboyant enough to be offensive.

Research Question
Do movies containing animated characters and flesh and blood actors interacting; use the cartoons as an opportunity to overindulge in stereotypes surrounding the gender, race or ethnicity the cartoon represents?
Do the male human actors in the movie cast all inhibitions aside to gain the affection of a female cartoon or obtain a sexual encounter?

We watched “Who Framed Rodger Rabbit” and “Cool World”, two movies that have animated characters, specifically cartoons acting with flesh and blood human actors. We employed specific parts of John Fiske’s “Method of Coding”. We specifically noted the appearance, body movement, bodily contact, and eye movement and contact of the primary female character. We also noted the appearance, activity and speech of characters meant to represent a specific race.

Summary of characters: Who Framed Rodger Rabbit?
Jessica Rabbit-Female
Dress-Partially clad, very large breasts barely contained in bright-red dress, lipstick and hair worn throughout movie always flawless. Very high, stiletto shoes.
Body Type-Long legs, 12-14” waste, curvaceous, voluptuous bust and buttocks.
Movement- Slow, fluid, confident and sexual.
Profession-Nightclub singer.
Jessica, played by Kathleen Turner, has a presence which drives men, cartoon or real, crazy. She commands their attention on a purely sexual basis. Her face consists of a very small mouth and nose, emphasizing more focus on her body. Her presence is breasts, legs, rear-end, and hair. She engages in unfaithful and sexual demeanor immediately after first scene in film, and has very few scenes with husband, Rodger Rabbit.
Dress-Demure, church attire, fitting for era.
Body Type-Average height, weight, bust, brunette.
Movement-Faster, firm, non-sexual, strong and independent.
Deloris is a strong and independent woman and an attractive female 37-45 years old. Her only weakness is her deeply rooted feelings for Eddie Valliant, evident as she spends most of the movie sacrificing her own well-being to help him. Few men, except Eddie, Rodger and random bar patrons pay any mind to her, she is a friend to all. She does not seem to mind how often Eddie yells at her.
Betty Boop-Female
References difficulty to find work because she is old, outdated, black-and-white. She is depicted as less valuable as she has been replaced by a younger sexual icon.
Gorilla Bouncer at night club-
He speaks with a deep, black man’s voice. He is larger than the door he guards, he has a short temper, large: muscles, lips, and nostrils, and red eyes.
Donald and Daffy Duck-Male
Use their speech impediments to manipulate the sound of words as they fight.
Donald plays a white piano, as Daffy plays a black piano. They fight the entire scene as they play the dueling pianos.
Baby Herman-Male
Sexist 50-60 year old male in the body of an infant. Pays no respect to his female care-taker .
Three of the five bullets are roughneck, cowboy characters. They are ignorant, and have over-the-top country accents, and act drunk. One bullet is Hispanic, dressed in a sombrero and bullet sling. As the case of the cartoon bullets is opened by Eddie, all awake, except the Hispanic who remains in his “Siesta”. The Native-American bullet sits in a solemn, “Pow-Wow” position with a headband. He is the first of the bullets to be fired at a whiskey bottle thrown by Eddie. He pulls out an oversize hatchet, does a whooping war call, and smashes the bottle.

Summary of Characters: Cool World
Dress-Partially clad, very large breasts, completely exposed except the nipple-white dress, white thigh high stockings and high stiletto shoes. Hair pulled up, accentuating long femine neck.
Body Type-Long legs, 12-14” waist, thinner buttocks, still curvaceous.
Movement- Slow, fluid, confident and sexual unless exotic, stripper dancing.
Profession-Exotic Dancer
Holli, played by Kim Basinger, is the obsession of all cartoon characters, male and female, in Cool World. She is the biggest obsession of her creator, Jack Deebs, the creator of cool world. He draws her as a companion to aide in passing lonely time as a convict in prison; she is also created as the epitome of the perfect female that is desired by Deebs and many other males.
Body Type-Good Build, well groomed, good hygiene and complexion.
Movement-Slow and confident, close to sexual. Only quick movements when in an action scene.
Profession-Detective, police officer.
Frank, played by Brad Pitt, is a cool, confident and sexual police officer that works in cool world. He also commands the desire of female, cartoon characters.
Group of Thugs-Male and Female
The group is three thugs that live in a very dark, sinister, dangerous, and dirty urban area. Each of them uses foul language and engage in criminal activity constantly, showing no respect to anyone, except Holli. The leader of the pack resembles a chimpanzee, the largest thug is a gorilla, and the prostitute looks like an orangutan. They all have dialect that closely imitates the speech and slang of black females and males.

Summary (Rhetoric)
Upon observing similar research done by Dr. Henry Giroux we are able to see similar themes in movies targeting older age brackets with cartoon content. Though these movies are not necessarily meant for the same age range as the Disney movies previously researched, the same overindulgence and disregard for other races is equally prevalent. It is not partial to allow cartoon representations be so politically incorrect, and crack down so heavily on actual human misrepresentations. The female characters are merely meant as service to the males, unless they can use their sex appeal to gain something for themselves. The research of movies containing cartoons and flesh and blood actors unveils a trend not expected; the female cartoons are a creation of a male, for his pleasure and entertainment. The “ideal” woman is far more desirable than the real human women, even if she is only ink.

Certain similarities are found in both movies so equivalent to one another it is shocking. The face that Eddie Valliant and Jack Deebs make upon their first time seeing the cartoon female characters is identical: Wide eyes and jaw dropped, utterly infatuated. First of all both female characters, as we would imagine, have bodies that are physically impossible to obtain, very similar to that of Bell in “Beauty and the Beast”. This impossible figure consists of large bust, perfect: legs, buttocks, complexion, and hair. Both Holli and Jessica have very small mouths and facial features. A woman with the best body and a small mouth, a dream comes true via cartoon. Both Jessica and Holli tempt the main male characters with their sexual appeal to get what they want. Eddie is immediately dismissive of his deeply-rooted relationship with Deloris upon a “come-on” from Jessica. Jack (human) engages in sex with Holli (cartoon) and she is turned into a real human, her power to get what she wants hinges on her ability to seduce the male. Both movies have a clumsy, obese female character, suggesting that obese humans are moronic, worthless, mainly females, and merely get in the way. Both movies contain gorillas, orangutans, or chimpanzees as sinister characters always in a dark environment. They all also happen to have an obvious black voice.

The minorities in each film are negatively represented, blatantly. The gang of chimps in cool world are terrible criminals, the first scene they are in they are playing dice on a street corner. They act like some sort of race trying to act like humans who act like animals. Taunting a cage of monkeys for the onslaught of screaming and wild outbursts that ensue is closely imitated in the movie. They are uncontrollable, until Holli, the white seductress, wearing white clothes enters. They all become submissive and worship her existence. The Hispanic bullet in Rodger rabbit is remains asleep, while all other bullets are awake and alert. This is indulgence in negative stereotypes that Hispanics are connected to, one created by American culture due to our 9-5 work days. Hispanics, traditionally work very early, take a long break to nap or relax, then work longer evenings. This style evolved to avoid the hottest parts of the day and still work longer hours, but soon accused of laziness by American work culture.

Much of the findings of cartoon race and gender representations Dr. Henry Giroux discusses with Disney were easily spotted in these two movies. What is the solution to this unfair and overlooked racism and sexism? Artistic expression is a far cry from what can be found in these examples, what is found here is an over reliance on the safe ambiguity of a cartoon character. No more “Get out of Jail Free” cards should be dealt in movies that may attract the attention of children, it seems that it is past due for the creators of these movies to take responsibility and not rely on their slick lawyers in the event of an angry group. Having characters that speak in a manner that is roundly understood as that of a black male or female is not tongue and cheek nor subtle, it is overindulgence of conscious and sub-conscious thoughts of races. The women are objects whose power is determined by the extent of their seductive powers. Is this the message we need to send to youth? Rodger Rabbit was acclaimed as a breakthrough in films because it attracted children and the parents who bring them to see the movie, and cool world is rated PG-13.

Any negative side effects on males caused by media?

The amount of ads that are covered with the “perfect” female form, the woman using her sex appeal to enslave the male prey in the ad or music video have made enough of a negative impact on young females self-image to have to be addressed openly as a sickness that can kill if not treated. All females in a non-traditional role have the word naughty attached by their suggestive clothing and demeanor. A librarian is a naughty- librarian who has read all the how-to books for seducing you. A female police officer is a naughty police officer with her handcuffs always in plain sight, who will read you your right to her body. Sorry, tangent, but so many terrible things that females do to themselves is a direct response to how they are told to look. I wondered if there was any negative effect on males as well, that bared any equivalence to the severity of what females sometimes endure. I did no formal research at all to see if any statistics showed similar suffering with males, but noticed something at the gym. I counted 15 other males working out at the U.N.T. recreation center, of those 15, 12 had little to no muscular definition in their legs but significant upper body definition. What does this mean you may wonder, perhaps nothing? It would be interesting to find that the males who frequent the gym only work out their upper body to attempt to gain the body of male models. I asked a good friend who works out how often he worked out lower body, he replied, “I go to the gym 6 times a week and do lower body once weekly if I have the time.” I asked him why he worked out his lower body so little, he replied, “Cause man, no girls care about good legs on a dude, they like the arms.” I then re-evaluated who I consider a good friend. Just kidding, wouldn’t it make since that males who frequent the gym rarely work their lower body muscles because of images of male torsos in advertising. I do not intend to say this would be comparable to the problems that face females, but it would be interesting to see what results one could find in a research on the effects of advertising on males. I also think that it’s funny.

Ad Backgrounds

I was curious to see if a suspicion I had contained any validity. I was curious to see if there was any general trend for the environment in which models, products or services where placed in the ads of magazines marketed towards African-Americans and those of Whites. I was disappointed that my guess was correct. Of the ads I sorted through in a Cosmopolitan magazine I found whites in most all ads with a well lit area. I noted a sunny window box in a well decorated home, a bright green patch of grass that appeared to be in a park, a sailboat and many more in similar settings. There where certainly a variety of other settings, but the majority where bright, sunny and cheery. I bought a copy of “The Source” a magazine marketed towards African-Americans and 31 of the ads and photos where in an urban environment, in streets, or in a room that looked to be a jail cell, and the majority of these settings where dark and looked to be a run down area. The two magazines I chose are entirely different subjects, as “The Source” is a music magazine and “Cosmopolitan” is a women’s shopping and beauty magazine making my observations heavily flawed, but interesting none the less. My reason for looking at this is not hidden; I wanted to see if the representation of black humans in ads was as equally racial as the news has been.

Homoeroticism in Advertising

It has become almost a universally accepted view that homosexual males have immaculate personal hygiene and grooming with good fashion sense, and in tremendous physical condition. This is a stereotype, as there are certainly homosexual males on both ends of the spectrum; the existence of such a stereotype also indicates that this group classified by their sexual orientation is growing. I think that there is a natural beauty to women, most likely spawned sub-consciously by their ability to bear children. Looking at a woman’s feminism from a Christian standpoint, women posses the one thing that men are missing, that being skeletal structure that protects our heart as well as our lungs, or the extra rib. Their form is more aesthetically more pleasing than that of the male. Selling with sex, instead of clothes, has been the topic of much of our class, and women are used to do this mostly. Women offer a mystique that men do not; they can evoke this feeling from a male simply with a glance, “the look” as we have come to call it. When men are used for advertising, it is my opinion that the use of homoerotic poses is an attempt to inject some sort of taboo mystique into the photo. It will make you glance twice, regardless if it is because of shock, you still look twice. Of course, advertisers are not ignorant to their audience, if they know their audience consists of mainly homosexuals, they will gear the ads to sell their product to homosexuals. Abercrombie and Fitch is the magazine that made me think perhaps the men are placed in homoerotic poses to attempt a quasi-female beauty or mystique, as homosexuals are not the largest customer of A&F, young women, and the males who shop there are primarily heterosexual. This sexual attitude and demeanor are a sure thing to sell to young adolescent teenagers curious about their sexuality, and discovering it in the clothes deemed by their peers as socially acceptable.

Interesting Billboard Choice

As a person drives around Denton, one theme in billboard advertising can be seen, alcohol. There are multiple stores on every block that sell alcohol, even a store next door to a traditionally freshman filled dorm, West Hall. I’m not complaining, I enjoy drinking here and there, and purchasing alcohol is convenient. The thing that bothers me about this over saturation of alcohol sales is how irresponsible it is, and hypocritical. So many news mediums will jump on a story of a young college kid who drank themselves to death, or killed a fellow motorist while driving intoxicated. All who read it cannot help but feel disdain for the irresponsibility of this young adult, but a visit to our fair town sheds some light on a large helper of these tragedies. What is worse than the large amount of alcohol advertising, is the ads containing a female as a sexual object with the alcoholic product. Many rapes and sexual assaults are committed nationwide on college campuses; this is helped by poorly lit areas and most certainly alcohol. I understand what a lucrative prospect it is to be an alcohol company in a college town, and I’m sure they pump money into the budget of the universities. Making such spectacles of students who are caught committing crimes involved with alcohol and place no blame on the “in your face” style of the alcohol companies is anything but fair. It requires responsibility on the part of students faced with a new freedom of college, and the companies as well.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Lets Sell Some Papers: tonight's Bout-Jessica Lynch vs. Shoshana Johnson

This article is a shining example of silly propaganda that evolved regarding the rescue of the two female hostages, Jessica Lynch and Shoshana Johnson. The article discusses issues of the social views of rape, and male vs. female-does one sex deserve more sympathy than the other? Does the entrance into the role as a soldier leave any preconceived notions at the door? Who the hell cares about this, what does it have to do with what happened really? The worst part about the story is that of the many paragraphs within the story, Shoshana Johnson is mentioned in just one paragraph, and in a watered-down, practically insignificant way. This article, no matter how hard it tried to bring to light some horrible ways of thinking that still exist regarding gender and what should be deemed as necessary or not, only helped to solidify the feeling that media is often silly, stupid and careless and only serves to stimulate the growth of horrible mentalities it pretends to be trying to solve. This article further humanists and softened the thoughts on Jessica Lynch, and further buried any possibility of doing the same for Shoshana Johnson.

Upon searching for images of the two women, the glamour shots of Lynch began to pile up, almost at the same rate that Johnson's unflattering, almost macho images did. Mind you many of these images of Johnson where recycled or used multiple times, where as many new and improved ones of Lynch surfaced per new story. I'm sure an even better photo will come out when they do the, "Where is Jess now?" oh, and that other black soldier. Why is it that women stepping out of the roles traditionally stamped on them, to fight hard for a good American cause are revered, so long as they are white. Otherwise they will not sell newspapers. When we as Americans have a government so scared to death to offend any minority, no matter how small their presence, even if it offends the majority, where is the media, and why do they get away with this. I do not mean to sound like such a cynic, but "We have got to do better than this." The valuing of one life over another based on looks and race has gone from underlying to outright with the subject of these two women.

Upon Jackie asking who Jessica Lynch was, approximately 80-90% of the students raised their hands.
Now when it was asked who Shoshana Johnson was, you guessed it about 5-8 people raised their hands, primarily black students.

Racism Schism

I have often wondered why in this day in age, racism still exists. I know so much flows in through our media, and with a culture that soaks up its information from T.V., racism only gets much worse. It seems that traditional views and values are almost completely eradicated, and “old-southern” would have die with it. There is no simple answer to this dilemma, though many contend it is all tied to the division of class, which certainly has helped to pump blood into the outdated veins of the racist monster. I have spent a significant amount of time watching the interactions of white people with black and African-American people. I have done this in a variety of settings for about a year. This “people watching” has uncovered a pattern of attitudes and frame of mind that I was blind to before. I have seen a consistent pattern with a majority of whites, that the association with a black friend, gives them a sort of power, in that they are some how more culturally diverse, therefore more "with the times". Though this attitude is more frequently held by younger adults, I have seen it in a wide range of ages. The idioms of the white male or female’s typical language change, one such example I noted was a white manager of a restaurant saying to hello to a white employee, “Hey David, how you doin?” was the greeting of the manager, only to be followed by a young black male employee greeted with, “What up young blood?” by the very same manager. Why did this manger go from a very straightforward greeting, to a cultflavorfulflavorful" one? He was, unintentionally and unbeknownst to himself, being racist. There is, on the flipside, an even more assertive and sometimes aggressive manner or attitude from young black males and females. It is one that all whites are bigots, racists, and “crackers” (a slang term derived from slave owners who whipped their slaves and the whip made a cracking sound). Mind you this attitude is rarely if ever as I noticed, carried on a public setting of mixed races, but in smaller intimate settings. I asked my god friend C.J. what he thought about this theory of mine. C.J. is a young black male with more integrity, heart, wisdom, and sympathy than many of my other friends. C.J. has a very even split of white friends and black friends so I asked him which he felt was more to blame: the “Old-Southern” attitude or the “ You owe me” attitude and which helps moreso to foster the growth of racism to a new generation. He replied, “I think the old-southern mentality is still out there, but it is carried by a generation that is about to retire and pass on, it has the ability to die and is, I think the attitude held by so many blacks in that most all whites are out to get the blacks, and all whites owe us something, is the bigger problem. I hang out with my white friends and its chill, they accept me, I hang out with my black boys, and they ridicule me for not being black enough, and assume I’m not proud of my black heritage because I speak and dress differently. I felt like they were about to designate another bathroom for me.” C.J. told me a particular story illustrating the old-southern where he had an attractive female friend, who was white, and her mother loved him. Every time C.J. would come over she would offer to cook him something, she would be the best host she could for him, (manners she did not apply in like manner to other friends of her daughter, C.J. noted). C.J. felt she really liked him and thought he was a stand up young man, which he truly is. The problem came when C.J. expressed interest in dating his attractive white friend; his friend’s mother never spoke to him again upon discovering his affection for her daughter, on a level deeper than friendship. “I could have easily used that, and many other things that happened to me to justify hatred towards whites, but I don’t, my mom taught me better than that. It taught me more about who I should consider a friend or a victim of poor-parenting or simply little education”. The attitude of observance of a fellow human being as different because of pigment must go, yes I am a silly idealist. The main reason I expressed interest in this topic is that my hope is a silly and outdated way of thinking finally be put to rest, the “Race-Card” gets thrown out with the Rules of Go-Fish and 7-Card stud.

Crash and Burn

Crash is a recent movie that has been released that addresses stereotypes of races and genders in America. The movie presents a range of characters each with an aim of confronting traditional stereotypes of genders, races and professions. We are also presented with the wholesome, wide eyed idealist whose character may very well provide the foundation for the title of the movie, in that all of the racism he is surrounded by and uncomfortable with, ends up being his very own undoing with a "crash" of saddening realizations. Many of the points made by the movie are admirable; this can be seen by the general disdain by many who view the movie towards racists and sexist individuals. There are a few problems with the movie as I see it such as the attempt to extinguish these very thoughts by using them to hook the audience. An example is the Hispanic locksmith, a former gang member. The audience is made to feel as if at any minute he may turn back to his criminal ways of the past due to the amount of stereotyping he endures. The scene when he attempts to consult the store owner of middle-eastern descent to buy a better lock and is aggressively and disrespectfully denied this consultation we as an audience think: Another typical extreme, uncompromising middle eastern and will the Hispanic break in to gain revenge and prove his point? Another such example to make my point is the scene containing two young black men conversing as they walk down the street. As we the audience listen to their verbose and over-indulgent vocabulary, we are coaxed to think these men are educated, have some direction, and are fully aware of the stereotypes that face their people and how to fix them, then they rob a white couple, solidifying in the mind of people who lack deductive reasoning that all black people are thieves. Another such example is the black woman who refuses to oblige the requests of the racist and sexist cop to help his father. We immediately begin to feel sentiment for his well meaning plight to aid his father, and disdain for the “stonewalling” of the loud and uncompromising attitude of the black woman. The character of Matt Dillon is a dangerous one as I see. His character provides a flamboyant example of racists that still dwell in our country and in the meantime serve and protect its citizens, and the film successfully builds up audience animosity towards his attitude. We are then given a window into the reasoning for his thought process, he had a mother who left him and his father, he adores his father who instilled these racists views within him, so how responsible is he really? The path of ultimatums is a dangerous and narrow path that can and has lead to acceptance of atrocious acts and thoughts. I feel the movie has good intentions to bring some thoughts and actions that are still prevalent today to light, but does so in a, irresponsible manner. The issues are less flamboyant than they once where so the issue is delicate, and the film dealt in strong, unlikely scenarios to make a point. I do not say that it is simple to make a movie that addresses these issues is easy, but we must be very careful how it is done. To sound like a bit of a cynic, if they didn’t intend to be so “flashy” about the points they made, and to make a splash in the film-making world, they wouldn’t have chosen such well known actors who are sure to bring a good crowd. I will end with, this film is a breath of fresh air in that it makes the bold statement that many of these mentalities are still prevalent and encouraged or even ingrained psychologically unbeknownst to us and must be addressed. To make a film about real-life, the film must be made in like manner, every day of our lives does not wield dramatic ground-breaking epiphanies that are painted so frequently in this movie.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Motorcycle Manufacturers View of Women: Object of Desire or Marketing?

Upon viewing the ads in a popular motorcycle magazine, “Hot Bike” I found a total of 48 adds for products. Males where in 20 of these adds fully clothed or wearing a tank-top shirt, and women where in 37 of these adds in which 27 of them are partially clad and in a sexually suggestive position, and 7 where dressed in a demure manner.

In a previous study “Sex and the Marketing of Contemporary Consumer Magazines: How Men’s Magazines Sexualized Their Covers to Compete With Maxim”, done by Jacqueline Lambiase and Tom Reichert, they found a general trend for male magazines to change their formats to the same as the cover page for Maxim due to its rising popularity. The general trend of advertisers is once again proven by their study that sex sells, and it is an easy way to do so.

My purpose for shadowing this study may seem as if it would yield predictable results, which it most certainly did, that a motorcycle magazine would have women only as objects of sexual desire as opposed to serious riders who love motorcycles i.e. the way the males in the magazine are depicted. With the growing number of women purchasing motorcycles, it is interesting to see how quickly the advertisers connected to motorcycle enthusiasts change their ad content.

My method was a mixture of qualitative and quantitative methods. I found a motorcycle magazine that seemed to contain a large amount of advertisements. With a motorcycle magazine they contain many stories about biker shows and road trips, that contain photos but I did not use them to enhance the internal validity of the study. I also only used ads with people in them. I went through the magazine page by page counting all of the ads. I then went back through and coded the female and male ads as: Demure, Partially Clad, or Barely Clad. I also counted photos where the sex is undeterminable. My intention of this small study was to see how the women are depicted in the magazines for motorcycle enthusiasts as they are a growing market that many manufacturers are designing bikes to sell to. The world of motorcycle owners has traditionally been dominated by males, and these males have typically been “bad dudes”. But the first banker who wanted to feel like a rebel set a domino effect in motion. He bought the bike, his banker buddies bought a bike, the wives of these men want a hobby of their own and more time with their husband, they buy a bike. Of course many other women besides this scenario buy motorcycles, but not nearly as many as wives of husbands who own bikes.

My findings showed the magazine to show very little effort to sell products to women. The ads that contained women, showed them straddling the bike, and never riding, unless they were sitting on the back seat. The men where shown in photos to make them look tough or posses an almost spiritual connection with motorcycles or the idea of building one. The women are all depicted as sexually stimulated by a biker or his bike even when the male may not be present. The photo of a male and female together on a bike shows a women clinging onto the back of the male rider-crossing his arms and looking tough.

Of the 48 ads: 77% contained females and of those photos, 73% contained women wearing little clothing and in a sexually suggestive pose. The males are in 48% of the photos and 100% of them are dressed in a demure manner.

I am able to conclude by these findings that motorcycle magazines are not up to date with the buying trends of female riders. I think if a female enthusiast where to flip though this magazine, they may be frustrated or angered by the women posing and never riding or working on a bike as the males are. The toughness of the males is suggested though mechanical motorcycle know how, compared to the female toughness suggested by a look of experiences had while following the male rider and his sexiness is totally from his bikes quality.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Video Games

The first and most crucial solution to children playing video games intended for adults is parents, parenting. If a parent buys these games for their kids without dong the proper research, how is this any different from buying a 16 year old a pack of cigarettes. One may have more immediate effects on the health, but to expose a young child to the violence contained in these games is in my opinion equally damaging to them mentally. Also, I think a big contributor to the video games kids play, or if they do at all has to do with the friends they are with. Think about this, young kids ages 12 to 17 are going through a very difficult time, what they crave the most is acceptance by their peers. If their is a group of popular young boys chatting about the latest "rated mature" game they got their hands on, and all of them know about it except you, you are going to feel like an outcast, and go home and pester your parents to buy it for you. I know this because it happened to me, and luckily my parents said "No, but here is a football." It took effort on their part, but they agreed to this when they decided to have chilren. Perhaps such a realization for some parents is needed as opposed to, "Here just play this and leave me alone, I'm tired."

Perpetuation of pedophilia

Many crimes committed today have been perpetrated by humans who seem to be insane, wired wrong if you will. "They must have been born with a bad brain". Many of these criminals very well have a bad brain, a chemical imbalance that prevents them from reasoning as a normal human would. This defense has also, in my opinion been taken advantage of by sneaky-slick lawyers and the use the insanity defense merely to aid their clients in escape from death penalties or life in jail. Many pedophiliac may have born without understanding that sex with young children is immoral, or even worse they posses no morals at all. Criminals need to admit when they have done something wrong, something that will have a drastic impact on the person the crime was committed upon. My reason for this rant is to establish the fact that I do not think pedophilias are the victim of the media in which they cannot escape. I do however wonder, what the cause is for the astonishing growth in pedophiles, there may very well be multiple causes and most certainly there are. I am thoroughly convinced the amount of young girls who are used for risqué advertisements simply because their age and the sexual positions, gazes or acts they posses, push the envelope, and help to promote the product they are a tool for. The company makes sickening attempts to justify this with comments such as, "We merely mirror society, we give them what they already see and want." Most of us observe media in all its forms for a temporary escape from the mundane day-to-day, not to visit the environment in which we already live. This argument parallels a citizen of Denton, Texas planning a joyful getaway to fabulous Denton, Texas. All of the young girls who are used to sell products are helping to fervor a growth in the obsession of sex with underage girls as an adult. It is romanticized as a dangerous and adventurous endeavor to gain the affections of a young, inexperienced girl by these adds, and they are targeted at men, imagine that. The solution to this problem certainly is not an easy one, but laws against using females in explicit poses that are, made to look or acting as a young female in all forms of media. No change in time slots to lower viewing times, no loopholes, no bullshit. Just outlaw it altogether

Monday, May 22, 2006

Extreme America

From the time of this countries inception, it has been one of extremes. The American Revolution, The Boston Tea Party, The Civil War, and many more noteworthy events in American history where extreme, carried out to make a bold statement. One such period as opposed to event is the Victorian Era. Men where expected to posses the most refined manners and demeanor, however allowed to deviate when their reactions regarded the capture of a woman's affections. On the filibuster women, where very subdued, closely emulating the cultures of the east. Even to show ankles was too riskey, let us compare this to present day. Oh you say that is a huge amount of time between the two periods? Yes it is, but the progression or digression I should say has only become marathon in nature in the past 20 years or so. The sexual appetites of humans where so suppressed for so long, we must now suffer the consequences of our forefathers. Even the Scarlet Letter shows this as only evil women, i.e witches entered the realm of the unknown (forest for those who don't read) to have scandalous sex, most often with a married man. Now it may seem odd that I spoke of extremes then speak of eras, novels and wars, but it goes to show a staple of our culture is "make it or break it" "Do or Die" "Balls to the Wall". We can see this if we watch the evening news, only the serious off the wall stories air, or out of the ordinary if you will. We are now living in the complete south pole of the culture of suppression and secrets of our ancestors once did. Sex, violence, death, will all make the producers a buck, or a million, meanwhile perpetuating or encouraging future rapists, petafiles, and murderers. No wonder they are growing at an astonishing and frightening rates. I guess it is justifiable if the bastard who produced the video or pushed the ad can buy his imported compensation mobile. I don't mean to fall into the trend of simplex, but it does seem the resolution may be a bit more basic than we make it out to be. Perhaps advertisers could push the idea that life is NOT extreme, not extreme especially in America the land where you can hire someone to wipe your ass if you so desire.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

How far is too far for content in music videos? It seems that there is an alternate universe in America in regards to "artistic expression", and I use the quotations intentionally. The laws that are in our country are many, and frequently amended, how is it that the creators of music videos get a pass to do as they please. It is not artistic expression, is it selling with shock value. It has been my observation that good art speaks for itself and on the flip-side when a self proclaimed artist throws some shocking images together they are attempting to fervor media coverage-good or bad attention, they are both attention. My point for discussing works of art is the parallels it contains to music videos. Countless videos of horrible bands or groups use sex and violence to compensate for their deafening lack of talent. It is my opinion that it began with Elvis. I commend Elvis for being a pioneer that combined the music of the black community with his own southern upbringing and then presenting it to a white audience. I also feel that he opened the door for the overindulged sexually driven videos that we see today. It has been a battle ever since to push the line further than the other guy. If you get in a little hot water just call it artistic expression on you're free and clear. When I see the videos I am referring to I can't help but think they are preying of of the stereotypes that exist against their very own profession. The videos that contain images that may cause one to think more deeply about themselves are rarely on T.V. at a reasonable time, why, because the youth of America is giving MTV killer ratings and rotting their mind in the process. Actually, why am I saying negative things about MTV, they don't even play music videos anymore.